Minister must not put Rushworth on hospital bypass list
01 December 2015
Health Minister Jill Hennessy must visit Rushworth to see the dire state of the town’s hospital when she tours the region to visit hospitals and health services in Echuca, Tongala, Kyabram and Shepparton on Friday.
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said she had written to the Minister in October asking her to visit the site.
“In recent days the community has been rebuffed with excuses after repeated requests for the Minister to visit.
“I’m making one last plea to Ms Hennessy to visit Rushworth because I believe if she sees the conditions residents are living in with her own eyes, she will feel compelled to provide funding in next year’s budget.”
Ms Ryan said Goulburn Valley Health had acknowledged that co-locating Rushworth’s hospital and nursing home with the newer aged care facility was its top priority.
“I am not aware of any hospital in worse condition than Goulburn Valley’s Rushworth campus. The Minister will be within 30 kilometres of Rushworth when she visits Kyabram so she needs to make only a small detour from her route to visit Rushworth,” Ms Ryan said.
“It will be an inexcusable snub if she doesn’t agree to the community’s request to take an hour to see how urgent this project is.”
Ms Ryan said the staff of the Waranga hospital and nursing home did a magnificent job in incredibly trying circumstances.
“The current hospital building is more than 50 years old and in very poor condition, requiring high levels of ongoing maintenance at significant cost. The remote location is also cause for concern as the building is close to the Whroo Forest and the threat of fire is a constant worry for patients and staff.”
Ms Ryan said Daniel Andrews had scrapped the Rural Capital Support Fund and the $7 million in funding to fix Rushworth’s hospital with it.
“Just 1.7 per cent of the capital health budget is being invested in outside of Melbourne and it’s going to Ballarat. Under the former Coalition Government, health services across our region were receiving much needed investment for the first time in years,” Ms Ryan said.
“Upgrades at both Rushworth and Shepparton were next on the list. The Coalition made a commitment of $7 million before last year’s election to get Rushworth underway, but the longer Labor ignores Rushworth the more expensive the project is likely to become,” Ms Ryan said.